Category Archives: Community Outreach

Women in Technical Careers Scholarship Provides More Than Financial Support

Women in Technical Careers (WITC) is Dunwoody’s new scholarship program designed to help women students succeed in technical degree programs at Dunwoody. Recipients of the scholarship receive $20,000 in scholarship funding and childcare assistance if needed.


However, WITC is much more than just financial assistance. It also serves as a series of support services and networks–all designed to remove barriers that often prevent women from seeking non-traditional professions.

“Throughout their time at Dunwoody, WITC students participate in a cohort program, a mentorship program and monthly professional development workshops. They also have direct, one-on-one support from an advisor,” said Women’s Enrollment Coordinator Maggie Whitman. “While the scholarship funding helps, it’s these support services that really make a difference.”

IMG_1692Perhaps one of the most successful support services offered is the mentorship program. Modeled after research findings on the best way to support women students in a technical career, the program pairs each student with a local, successful woman in the same profession.

Mentors include women such as Claire Ferrara, Interim Executive Director of MEDICO; Cathy Heying, Founder of The Lift Garage; Karin McCabe, Workforce and Vendor Outreach Coordinator from McGough Construction; and many more.

“The mentorship program is important because it connects our students with women who are experienced at navigating workplacesIMG_1747 where few women work,” Whitman said. “Mentors can share job searching advice, industry information, and personal experiences that will prepare our students for their lives after graduation. It’s important for our students to hear this type of feedback and advice from women who have had similar life experiences. A simple, ‘I’ve been there, and I made it through…’ can go a long way.”

The mentorship program officially kicked off last month at a social event on campus. Students and their mentors were able to meet in person for the first time and get to know one another over appetizers and beverages.

“The students were very excited to meet so many professional women in their chosen careers,” Whitman said. “I also heard from the mentors that they appreciated the opportunity to network with other professional women. I think this program will be beneficial for everyone involved.”

IMG_1750Mentors and students will meet in person several more times throughout the next two years. They will also communicate regularly online.

The WITC scholarship was awarded to 22 women in 2015. The students are currently enrolled in programs like Automotive, Computer Technology, Robotics & Manufacturing and Construction Sciences & Building Technology.

The WITC students are expected to graduate in Spring of 2017.

Learn more about Women in Technical Careers.

Dunwoody-Built Fish House To Be Raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities Fundraiser

Exterior photo of Dunwoody College student-built fish house.Over the last seven months, Dunwoody students and faculty have been building a one-of-a-kind, luxury fish house. The house is part of a fundraising project for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, which makes critical home repairs for Twin Cities’ homeowners in need.

The 128 square-foot house was designed and built by Dunwoody students and faculty from Construction Management, Interior Design, Welding, and HVAC Installation & Residential Service programs.

The fish house will be raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities’ Flannel Fling event on Friday, Oct. 30, at Nicollet Island Pavilion. The fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. and will also include a live and silent auction; local craft beer; dinner; live entertainment; games and much more.

Raffle tickets for the fish house are $20 each with proceeds benefiting Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and Dunwoody College of Technology.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, contact Heather Gay at

Welding Students Showcase Skills at the Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is often thought of as a place to eat fried cheese curds, groove to a concert in the Grandstand and visit the livestock barns, but for the second year in a row attendees were also able to learn how to weld at the Careers in Welding trailer. The 53-foot trailer, which houses five virtual welding stations, was at the fair Aug. 27-30.

Virtual welding stations housed in the Careers in Welding trailer

The exhibit was sponsored by the American Welding Association (AWS) and Lincoln Electric and staffed, in part, by Dunwoody instructors and students. In fact, Dunwoody welding instructors Mike Reeser and Mark Schwendeman – along with 15 of their students – generously volunteered over 135 man-hours. Reeser, Schwedeman and their students also put on a “best of the best” contest to compete against one another and showcase the high-quality skills taught through Dunwoody’s Welding program, which offers both a certificate and a two-year degree.

Impressed by the number and caliber of the Dunwoody students, Lincoln Electric decided to donate a brand new 300 amp welder to the College.

Dunwoody Student with a virtual welder machine

“this 300 amp welder will allow us to continue offering students the newest technology in Gas Metal Arc Welding/Mig (GMAW),” Reeser said.

 Click here for more information about Dunwoody’s Welding degrees.

Dunwoody gives out Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards at Minnesota State High School Robotics Championship

Earlier this month, Dunwoody College of Technology gave out three Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards at the Minnesota State High School Robotics Championship on Saturday, which was held at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing E.J. Daigle judged each of the 32 teams and selected 3 teams for a new award, which recognizes robotics teams that exhibit unique engineering and/or design solutions.  The award acknowledges that while winning the tournament is a major achievement,  innovation can from creative thinking, experimentation, failure and budgetary and/or engineering constraints.

The award was given to FIRST Robotics Team 2530 Inconceivable from Rochester,  Team 4009 Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) from Duluth Denfeld, and Team 3055 Furious George from Austion. Winning teams received both a trophy and cash prize of $500 for the team to use for 
materials, training and other costs to compete in future years.

Dunwoody has been a friend and sponsor of Minnesota State High School League’s FIRST Robotics competition for several years, but this is the first year that the College has given out an award.

Dunwoody Students Tylor Klish (Welding) and James Olson (Automated Systems & Robotics) staffed a table at the tournament and told interested students and parents about Dunwoody programs and promoted this summer’s STEM Camp.

Also: check out an Austin Daily Herald story on the Furious George team.

2015 CAD Table installed for Dunwoody Design students

Dunwoody students and faculty are celebrating the installation of the College’s newest piece of equipment- a Kongsberg V20 CAD (Computer-Aided Design) Table. Kongsberg, a division of Esko, Inc. (a valued partner to the Design & Graphics Technology department) manufactures its tables in the Czech Republic and sells them worldwide.


The new table and software allows users to design and produce cartons, containers, retail displays, signage and die cut art made from a wide array of materials including paper, plastic and corrugated cardboard. The upgraded table cuts 1,150 inches per minute- nearly 10 times faster than the College’s previous CAD table.

While students of multiple Dunwoody design programs will use and benefit from this new piece of equipment, perhaps those most excited are students of the Design & Graphics Technology department, particularly first years enrolled in the “Intro to Packaging Design” course.

The Packaging Design course, a class required for both Pre-Media and Graphic Design programs, centers around a semester-long project requiring students to work one-on-one with real customers on the design and production of a custom package using the CAD table’s 2015 technology.

The project begins once the student identifies a real customer (e.g., a Dunwoody staff member, instructor or a local business owner) who is in need of a container or package for a certain product.

IMG_6582-smallerKeeping in mind the ultimate purpose or goal of the container, the student begins to design a template for the package using Esko’s ArtiosCAD design software. The resulting file is transferred without further conversion to the CAD table’s computer, which runs Esko’s iCut Production Suite software.

The package’s template will ultimately consist of a large collection of lines (pictured above) that tells the table where the material must be cut, perforated or creased for folding.

IMG_6181-smallerOnce the template has been finalized and the designer has chosen an appropriate type of material to cut, the computer will send a message to the table’s tool head (pictured right) to begin cutting.


Before cutting


After cutting

The designer then “pops out” the design (pictured below), assembles the container and issues it to the customer. Should the prototype be something the customer is genuinely interested in using or distributing, the student may share the design template with a larger production house for mass production. Any single design can be stepped and repeated or ganged with other design templates before cutting to maximize productivity and minimize waste. All scrap corrugated and paper is collected for recycling (pictured below), quite often returning in the form of new corrugated sheets.


Scrap corrugated ready for recycling

At the end of the semester students are graded on their knowledge of the CAD table as well as their ability to successfully work with clients, and design and produce a purposeful, real-life product. The project is a great opportunity for students to network, build their resumes and portfolios and experience design and production in its entirety.

“There is a lot of excitement throughout the department right now,” says Pete Rivard, Principal Instructor of Pre-Media Technologies, when discussing the recent installation. “Students are having a hard time paying attention in Photoshop class because they are too busy refining their package designs! Although we obviously want them to pay attention to their other courses, it is neat to see them so excited about their projects. Package design is a complex process. Nobody gets it right the first time, even out in industry. So to have this table in our lab gives every student in the program a second, third or seventeenth chance to adjust their designs to meet the demands of the material. The finished result should be the equal to any carton on any store shelf anywhere.”

The 2015 table is also generating buzz throughout the community as Dunwoody is currently the only College in the state of Minnesota that has this table for the use of packaging and retail display design. Dunwoody also enjoys the support of local corrugated manufacturer and box design business Liberty Carton, who happily provides the graphics program with all the corrugated material it needs.

“The table also helps with the ‘hands-on’ piece of Dunwoody’s curriculum,” says Rivard. “Because of this table, our students will not only learn the process of packaging design, but will really get to experience it first hand. The act of manually folding and assembling and evaluating a physical object that you yourself designed and cut is a powerful experience, and causes students to want to do better.”

Rivard plans to continue the momentum this table has brought by providing CAD table demonstrations for design students and faculty from various Minnesota colleges, as well as professionals in the design and packaging industry, at the upcoming AIGA PIVOT event on April 22.

Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology department offers AAS degrees in both Graphic Design and Pre-Media Technologies.

Architectural Drafting & Design students win Hole Design trophy at Skyway Open

The golf hole Dunwoody Architectural Drafting & Design students designed and built won the award for 2014 Top Hole Design at the eighth annual U.S. Bank Skyway Open Feb. 21-23.


—————————————————-Architectural Drafting & Design students design golf hole for Skyway Open

The golf hole Dunwoody’s Architectural Drafting & Design students designed and built will be featured at the eighth annual U.S. Bank Skyway Open Feb. 21-23.

This 18-hole scramble mini-golf tournament features professionally designed golf holes by leading Minneapolis-based architects and contractors set up throughout the downtown skyway system. Golfers can visit for registration and ticket information.

This year’s theme is “Minneapolis Neighborhoods — Putt the City.” Teams were challenged to create a golf hole that captures the personalities of the city’s communities.

Dunwoody’s team–Patrick Anderson, Nick Conniff, John Dwyer, Randy Iverson, Adam Krause, John Nelson, John Tilbury and Kyle Vogt–named their golf hole “The Spirit Lake Trail.”

This is the first year Dunwoody has participated in the charity event. Dunwoody’s team–Patrick Anderson, Nick Conniff, John Dwyer, Randy Iverson, Adam Krause, John Nelson, John Tilbury and Kyle Vogt–named their golf hole “The Spirit Lake Trail.”

“This structural metaphor claims Hennepin Avenue as the original neighborhood, the Minneapolis section of a Native American path through the Midwest known as the Spirit Lake Trail,” explained Senior Instructor John Dwyer. “The structure is composed to invert our common perceptions of the city. The top layers represent the less perceivable topography and geology. The lower layers represent the more easily perceivable streets and neighborhood delineations.”

The Skyway Open is hosted by the Downtown Network and benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. For more information about the event, visit



Kate L. Dunwoody Women’s Luncheon is Oct. 24

Attorney, entrepreneur, civic leader and mother Nena Fox will be the guest speaker at the Kate L. Dunwoody Women’s Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Dunwoody College of Technology, 818 Dunwoody Blvd., Minneapolis. Her presentation will focus on women as entrepreneurs. The luncheon recognizes the vision and generosity of Kate L. Dunwoody with the mission of raising funds for women’s scholarships.


About Nena:

As a Senior Associate at the law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Nena practices in the areas of real estate development and government contracting. She helps developers and local governments secure financing and partner to accomplish complex land use, development, employment and infrastructure goals.

As Founder & CEO of the Global Robotics Innovation Park (GRIP), Nena is spearheading the effort to build a research park and business incubator for the robotics industry in Minnesota.

Nena is currently serving her second term as Chair of the Citizens League Board of Directors. She was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School for three years where she taught a course on Local Economic Development. She is also a graduate of the Minneapolis FBI Citizens Academy. In 2013 Nena received the (REAL) Power 50 Award by Minnesota Business Magazine, the Progress Minnesota Award by Finance & Commerce, and was named one of the 40 Under 40 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Nena has a three year-old daughter named Mary Lou. She describes herself as a “maker” and “a geek at heart.”


Event information:


Lunch & Program: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Cost: $35 (free to female students, RSVP required)

Table Sponsors: $280 (Includes 7 guests and hosts 1 student attendee)


Location: Dunwoody College of Technology

RSVP: October 21, 2013

Payments made to:  Dunwoody College of Technology

Questions:  612-381-3064, or email

Dunwoody offers free robotics seminars for high school students

Calling all Twin Cities high school students interested in robotics:

Dunwoody College is offering free Saturday training sessions to any high school student actively participating in robotics. This can include the Midwest Robotics League, FIRST Robotics at any level or just a general interest in engineering, design, electronics or robotics. Mentors and parents are welcome to attend, but the hands-on portion of all activities are reserved for the students.

Topics include: basic electricity, Solidworks design, shop skills, industrial robotics and an introduction to LabVIEW.

Courses take place from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and the dates for the seminars are: Oct. 15, 22 and 29; Nov. 5, 12 and 19; Dec. 3, 10 and 17.

For details and to RSVP, email E.J. Daigle, director of Manufacturing & Robotics, at